The people of Gwoza area of Borno State, which suffered incessant Boko Haram attacks in the last one month, have resorted to eating wild fruits and roots to survive as food has become scarce, it was yesterday gathered.
Owing to the humanitarian crisis caused by the attacks, thousands of residents of the six border villages of Attagara, Amuda, Agapalawa, Ashigashiya, Ngoshe and Chikedeh in Gwoza Local Government Area have also started to leave their villages for fear of more attacks.
It was gathered that the residents started the mass exodus from the villages on Monday, moving into caves of Mandara Mountains in the Gwoza council area of the state, even as about 1,300 villagers were said to have migrated to Maiduguri.
The people, according to some of them who spoke to reporters in Maiduguri yesterday, had waited for military deployment to their villages but this had not happened and made them more vulnerable to fresh attacks.
The senator representing Southern Borno at the National Assembly, Mohammed Ali Ndume, had called on stakeholders from the villages to push for military deployment, which the people claimed never came.
Some of the fleeing villagers said they had migrated to Maiduguri and others who had no means of getting to the state capital had fled into mountain caves and hilltops for safety and to prevent Boko Haram from forcibly conscripting their youths as members of the sect.
The immediate past vice-chairman of Gwoza council, Mr. Francis Mbala Nduka, and caretaker Committee Chairman, Dr. Hamman Jumba Ahmadu, said the villagers would only return if the military is deployed to the communities, as staying back would be suicidal.
Nduka said: “Our people have been gripped with fear and trauma for over two weeks and had no other place to flee than to run into caves of Gathahure, Gjigga, Kunde, Hwa’a, Hrazah and Hembe hill settlements.
“As fleeing hill dwellers cannot come down to the plains for food and water, they have resorted to eating wild fruits and roots to survive since the villages had been attacked and the insurgents are believed to be lurking within the vicinity.”